learning to lose…
It was our 6th Anniversary this weekend. Whoop whoop! I still can’t believe I get to do life with this guy… I am so thankful. Here’s a pic from our wedding day 6 years ago (Photo Cred: David Hyttsten).
To celebrate, we attended the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Coaches’ Retreat and told a story about winning and losing from the platform. I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate a marriage that is dedicated to chasing Jesus with reckless abandon than to share about God’s faithfulness. The conference was awesome and we met so many amazing people. Plus, it was so fun to get away just the two of us!
Sharing our story was good, but honestly, it was also really hard because we are still in the middle of walking through the aftermath of a recent crisis. We are still wounded. We are hurt and trying to make sense of what happened. It’s difficult to let people see the raw parts of life.
The story we told is one of winning and losing. A story of obtaining and letting go of a dream football job in the span of five months. A story of winning remarkably and then losing greatly. A story of following God’s call and then facing huge disappointment and pain.
A story of how we learned, through prayer and fasting and God’s Word, that God’s definition of winning is so different than ours. We described our journey towards understanding that the world defines winning as personal success and fame, but that God defines winning as whatever brings HIM the glory.
Matthew 16:24-26 explains: “Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will find it.”
Whoever loses their life for the sake of God will win for eternity.
Therefore, we must be willing to lose for the sake of God’s kingdom.
And lose we have. Big time. But through it all, God has asked Ben and me to trust that losing BIG is actually winning for eternity.
It’s not easy to lose, but this we know: God is good and he is faithful. WE TRUST HIM, no matter what. We will keep running after him with all we have. We will stay committed to reckless abandon, no matter what we lose.
And we can testify to this: there is tremendous power in letting others see our hardships so that the power of Christ can also be seen in us. When we humble ourselves enough to let people see our weakness, the strength of Christ shines out of us. So often, we like to present a perfectly wrapped package to the world- complete with a beautiful bow on the top. We like to appear as though our lives are all put together and lovely.
It’s not fun to let others see our pain, our failures, and our shortcomings.
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH POWER AND GLORY for God when we admit our humble position of weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 encourages, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Right now, my husband and I have ample opportunities to proclaim our weakness for the glory of God.
That’s why, even though it is difficult, we share our story. We have learned that his faithfulness through hardship is a brilliant, dazzling light to those who are struggling in the dark and looking for a ray of hope. We have seen that:
When we are vulnerable, we give others permission to be imperfect.
When we are honest about our struggles, we give others permission to speak about their hardships.
When we admit our failures, we give others permission to acknowledge their shortcomings.
When we declare the power of God amidst the wreckage, others are inspired to look for the power of Christ in their mess.
It’s actually winning.
Dear friends, here is my encouragement: Be humble enough to show your weakness. Be brave enough to let the cracks show. Be vulnerable enough to share the struggle.
Be a fragile clay jar that contains a great treasure…making it clear your great power is from God and not yourself (2 Corinthians 4:7).
In doing so, you will magnify and glorify the Sovereign God of the Universe. You will be a beacon of light that leads others to the source of all hope and joy.
You will be an encouragement to others seeking to shine their light in the dark.
You will win when you lose…because God’s power working in you will bring God the glory.
To that I say, Amen!
To be clear, I’m not saying we need to run around flaunting our pain like a pair of new shoes, but I am saying that when we are vulnerable with our struggle and our desperate need for God, we can minister to others. That’s why I write my blogs the way I do: to show the immeasurable grace God gives me, a total mess, to keep going. I want him to receive all the glory for my life.
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Let’s do this faith journey together.
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